Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Western Orthodoxy?

A supposed celebration of Sarum by a Western
Orthodox priest. source: allmercifulsaviour.com
The Rad Trad recently had an interesting exchange over the Sarum Use in a previous post on local liturgical practices that fell away at Trent. At one point we touched on the anachronistic adaptation of a modified Sarum liturgy and a modified Roman liturgy by the Orthodox patriarchates of Antioch and Russia respectively. The experiment, which the Rad Trad believes to be aimed at Old Catholics and Anglicans, has ended in the Russian Church at least, according to the blogger John Ad Orientem. Glancing at the more informative comments, the Western Orthodox try was plagued with episcopal scandals and poor judgment in ordinations. One priest below laments having the celebrate the "arid" Roman rite for pre-Vatican II pseudo-Catholics rather than the rite of Chrysostom.

Most commentators lament the death of the Western endeavor and urge converts to embrace the Eastern liturgy rather than the Russian version of Anglicanorum Coetibus. One poster, the Catholic Gregory DeLassus, asks what this means for ancient Roman saints? Does it mean to be Orthodox means to be Greek or Russian or Egyptian? Here I see some wisdom in the Eastern Catholic Churches, which entered communion with Rome as entire communities and as they were—Latinizations usually coming later at the behest of Franciscan friars or self-imposition. Since the 1950s the Eastern Catholics have undergone a heavy de-Latinzation, casting away such foreign practices as Benediction, Roman vestments, and use of hosts for the Eucharist, a process by and large successful.

The closure of this chapter of the Western experiment for the Russian Orthodox reveals how difficult the Great Commission really is to fulfill. What is essential? What is Traditional? What is cultural? The Church must be available to all, but within the reasonable confines of the faith.


  1. I hear ukrainian greek-catholics aren't happy at all with delatinizations...

    1. I can only speak for one Ukrainian parish, but their experience is very much in line with what you're saying, Marko. They have:
      -The rosary before Divine Liturgy rather than Mattins/Lauds
      -An opening hymn and procession (on the priest's ordination anniversary they sang Immaculate Mary)
      -Stations of the Cross instead of the Crucifixion Service/Vespers on Good Friday
      -A chapel where the bi-ritual priest celebrated the pre-Conciliar low Mass once in a while

  2. So are they happy with those latin customs?
    I was implying that ukrainian greek-catholics aren't happy with removing the latin customs.

    1. Hard for me to say, as I have never attended the parish and cannot speak from it. I relay this information second hand from a priest I know who substitutes there once in a while. It may be the parish or it may be the peculiar tastes of the priest.